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Archive for January 2010

An Education | The Road | Departures | The New World

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An Education (d. Lone Scherfig, 2009)

Nick Hornby’s script follows a pretty conventional arc, but it satisfies and performs as a story. There’s nothing showy in the photography – everything is just in its right place. Some of the design is, admittedly, not quite – consider the Bristol – slightly wrong era.

What makes it, I feel, is Lone Scherfig’s direction (of the performers). The film can almost scan as a series of vignettes – particular experiences that come to mark transitions into adulthood, and moments that eventually define all sorts of relationships. This is the case because of the carefully, almost unnoticeably deft evocation of naturalistic body language, figures of speech, snatches of words (as both precedes and answers the leading couple’s first kiss), alongside an emotionally charged, expressive use of sound and light (the crumpled half-lit face of Sarsgaard bottoming out in cowardice), and a romantic deployment of classical figures (the fingers extended on Mulligan’s hand as she holds it over her heart, waiting for him to come inside). These moments feel universal and timeless, because they are, and because they are articulated as such with grace. It becomes moving.

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Written by James P. Campbell

31/01/2010 at 21:16